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Strict Penalties Combat Drowsy Driving Among Teens06:15
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Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the United States. (Kyle May/Flickr)
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the United States. (Kyle May/Flickr)
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Spend any time on the interstate and you're bound to catch the signs, "stay alert, arrive alive."

Drowsy driving is responsible for 21 percent of fatal crashes in the U.S. It can be especially dangerous for teens, who are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be in a car crash. That's why in 2007, the state implemented harsh penalties for 16- through 18-year old drivers found on the road between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. without another licensed driver.

Now, a study published in the journal Health Affairs says those penalties worked — they reduced the number of fatalities from teen drivers at night. The authors of the study say similar measures should be implemented everywhere to protect young drivers.

Guest

Carey Goldberg, reporter and co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog and podcast, "The Checkup". She tweets @CommonHealth.

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WBUR: After A Death, Crackdown On Drowsy Teen Drivers Led To Fewer Crashes, Study Finds

  • And it seems the strict new rules have worked, dramatically decreasing the number of drowsy driving accidents involving teenagers, according to a new study out this month in the journal Health Affairs. Indeed, the results are striking: Among junior operators (ages 16-17), the overall rate of car accidents fell by 18.6 percent, the rate of night crashes decreased by almost 29 percent, and there was an almost 40 percent decrease in car crashes resulting in a fatal or incapacitating injury, researchers report.

This segment aired on June 16, 2015.

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